It’s pitch black night, you see a castle that most likely looks like the exterior of the scariest movie, you have to crawl in, the interior is as eerie as you can imagine, even though you are aware that you are alone, you can just feel some energy that makes your skin crawl, you walk around, and there it is the perfect spot for the perfect shot. This scenario is not everyone’s first choice, but lucky for us, Kenneth Provost and his companion the camera do this every time when there is an opportunity.
When it comes to “state of decay” buildings, there are people who see a rotting, dilapidated ruins and people who can still sense the lavish beauty hiding in the dust. Obviously and fortunately, Kenneth Provost is the second type.
Urban exploration, surely is not the fanciest hobby, per say, but photographing splendorous decay is something that we truly appreciate, especially when we find someone with an extremely sharp sense for retrieving the fading beauty in the rotting decay, and oh boy if Keneth Provost has a sense for this kind of stuff.
Born near the sea in Oostende, Belgium, Kenneth Provost, was an army soldier for seven years, there years ago while jogging he was distracted by the rotting beauty of an abandoned stone factory, and that was it, since then he has been capturing the beauty in decay throughout Belgium and Europe.
About 3 km from where I live, there was this old abandoned stone factory. And I remember while jogging I passed the building many times. One day I took the camera I got for my birthday and I went inside. What an awesome place and experience that was! He told us in a recent interview.
Not shy with saturating, Provost manages to highlight the fading beauty of these gorgeous places in a way that when you see his photos you instantly feel connected with it, he is giving a new glory to the old, forgotten places, preventing them from fading into oblivion.
“I use HDR technic to enhance my pictures. It’s a process that starts when taking not 1 exposure but in my case almost 9 from one subject. Every exposure I make has different lighting. Later at home I process them to 1 pic with several programs on the Mac. For 1 picture finished it’s about 20 min of work.”
From lavish abandoned castles through to car graveyards reclaimed by nature to churches, schools, and factories, Provost for 3 years meticulously hunted the “unwanted” and neglected corners of Europe.
When you start with this hobby you make new friends or you get to know others who also explore. I remember some great people who were friendly enough to help me find some other places. After gaining respect and a little bit of a name for myself things got a bit simpler when it comes to finding abandoned places.
Seeing these obsolete buildings some of them crumbling, others still standing strong, we couldn’t help to wonder how Provost and all urban explorers in general, sneak into these forgotten marvels,
Urban explorers only get inside when it’s possible! Broken windows or doors are an option. but when it’s not open I will not force myself inside. It a simple rule not to break in. That’s the awesome thing about urban exploration. You never know what to expect.
When walking around inside an abandoned building you start to get quiet.. the silence inside is magical and you start to ask yourself lot’s of questions.. when?.. why? With, my pictures, I want people to ask those exact same questions. Love it!
While, these abandoned buildings for some are sacred places and inexhaustible source of inspiration, others used their fragile state to vandalize them and steal.
“A year ago I stepped inside this awesome church(pictured above). It was raining very hard outside and I remembered being alone it wasn’t easy to get inside. I had to lay down on my stomach and crawl like a soldier to get inside. When I was there I saw 2 other individuals that were looking for stuff they could steal.. they asked me who I was but I didn’t say my name. I told them I was only there for some pictures..
Disrespectful people but I got the shots I wanted without getting hurt.” remembers Provost.
However, urban explorers are often a target for the police, especially in foreign countries: “One time in Italy I and some friends were taken to the police station for fingerprints and mugshots. They released us 5 hours later. It’s not fun but I know it can happen anytime. Even if it’s only for making some pictures in abandoned places.” he recalls.
Provost has been traveling around Europe for years now, visiting countries like the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy in search for the romantic decay and enchantings ruin. However, he still has a lot on his bucket list
Many buildings are just too far away and traveling is very expensive. Most of my visits are by car and sometimes I take the airplane. I have many great spots and I will see where the future takes me.
From obvious reasons, his project Urban Exploration by Kenneth Provost is gaining a huge interest, you can often see his photos being shared and reshared and spreading around the corners on the internet.
In the last 2 years, Urbex has become very popular. This means abandoned places are being trashed/damaged or even vandalized very fast. Personally for me, its just pure fun and maybe I shouldn’t admit it, kinda became an addiction.
To sum up, we want to thank Provost for his interview and to encourage him to capture more romantic ruins around the world.
If your hearts beats faster when you see an old abandoned building, then you have to visit Provost’s Facebook page, because it’s going to be a real feast for your ” abandoned buildings” hungry eyes. You can also visit his Flickr page and Instagram.
All photos belong to Kenneth Provost.